By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– It all started as an idea as a fundraiser and to bring the community together at the same time.
The idea was something second-year Head Coach Ben Schultz was thinking about since taking over the reigns of the Gervais Boys Basketball-program last season to have an alumni tournament over a two-day span during the Winter Break period of the college school year to bring as many alumni in as possible to partake in the festivities when it happened.
Starting Friday and carried over to Saturday the tournament, seven teams battled it out for the first through third place trophies, some teams were Gervais alums, others weren’t as Schultz and the boys and girls basketball programs try to bring interest to what they are trying to do.
“It was important at this time as we needed people to fill out rosters. While the ultimate goal is to have all players be alumni l, for the first few years we will offer only a certain amount of non alumni,” said Schultz, a Gervais-grad from the 1990s who also found himself doing some MC-work as well during the tournament. “But they did make for the rosters to be more exciting.”
Certainly it did bring excitement when the team’s laced it up for the games.
In the Championship Game between the Gervais Elite, featuring the Kelley Brothers and Stoutt to name a few, versus the outsiders from the Black Mamba team.
The Black Mamba team built a double-digit lead on the Elite before Gervais Elite roared back to cut it to two before the Mamba’s iced the game with free throws late to take first-place from the alums of GTown.
“It was pretty bitter sweet, we all worked super hard to get back, we’re down by two by yeah, we’re all pretty tired because this is our third game of the day and we’re all out of shape,” laughed and smiled Stoutt. “We all worked hard as a team.”
Tired will bring on the soreness for all of these former prep athletes, some more out-of-shape than others but hey it’s all for the fun of competition right? *Cue the laughter*.
It’s still uncertain if there will be a dunk contest down the road once seven-footer Kylor Kelley hangs it up following his still on-going basketball career to take on his six-eight or so brother and anyone else that walks into the Gervais basketball dojo at the High School, but in the meantime there was a three-point contest won by 2012-Cougar Angel Martinez.
“It was fun actually, it’s just something we can laugh about,” said Martinez. “A lot of our three-point shooters I know are better than me but only made two so it was really funny.”
In the game that followed shortly after Martinez’ three-point contest performance, Martinez’ and the Lights Out crew shut off the lights of the Hot Shots crew that had siblings Derrick and Tiana Jaramillo, Naomi Saalfeld and Alex Isiordia.
Though they lost and finished fourth out of seven teams, seeing all of this competition and turnout for the first-time through this event from alumni’s and people who did not graduate from Gervais was something awesome points out Isiordia.
“It’s awesome, more competition makes it more fun you know?” said Isiordia with a smile. “When we had zero points in the first half for about 10 minutes, it kind of took us back so we had to turn it on. We turned it on a little late, but hey this is for fun right?”
Fun. Entertaining. Interesting. Things that brought them together.
Pain is temporary perhaps, but the memories…well, they’ll last forever.
“It was really great to put this together. I was ecstatic that we had seven teams. They’ve never had anything like this before,” said Schultz. “We made some mistakes, it’s the first time. But we learn from them and move forward to next year. From all the feedback we got the positives far out weigh any negatives.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald